The So Very Close! Game is almost a science experiment. Kids take different objects, place them in water inside a graduated cylinder, and then they measure how much water each object displaces. It's a good idea to have students work on a surface where if water spills a little it won't hurt anything. Small, somewhat manageable objects work best, and if they're irregularly shaped that makes the guessing and estimating a lot more challenging and a lot more fun!
Begin by making sure the first items you've picked will stay underwater once they're placed there and won't go rising to the top because they're buoyant. You may want to have kids keep their data sheets for estimating away from the water area. After all we don't want data from the experiment washed away do we? If students haven't had much experience with this type of measurement you may want them to begin by measuring some regularly shaped objects like simple cubes. Then move to more complex irregular shapes in subsequent rounds.
This is a game where precision with measuring, good intuition when estimating, and careful calculating will get players to the winning circle. Point out to students that the reason the lowest sum wins is that the players who are closest with their estimating skills will have the smallest differences between their actual measurements and their estimates.
For fun in the competition aspect of this game, have teams pick the objects they want the other teams to measure. Make sure the items they pick will fit in the cylinders!
Common Core Mathematical Standards
3.MD Solve problems involving measurement and estimation of intervals of time, liquid volumes, and masses of objects.
5. MD Geometric measurement: understand concepts of volume and relate volume to multiplication and to addition.
6. G Solve real-world and mathematical problems involving area, surface area, and volume.
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